A group of far-right extremists dressed as Muslims has interrupted an Anglican church mass in Australia, warning against a “Muslim invasion”.
The group Party for Freedom entered a Gosford Anglican Church on Sunday to protest against Muslims. They used loudspeakers to blast out what sounded like a Muslim prayer. They also chanted anti-Islam slogans before leaving, ABC reported.
Later on, the protesters were questioned by police while they claimed that the protest was against Father Bower, who preaches at the church. They said they were against his making friends with Muslim preachers.
The church minister said he was appalled by the incident.
"It was … just out of the blue, some of the congregation were quite upset," Father Bower said.
"I recognized one of the participants and clearly they weren't Muslims — it was mock attire. I took a minute or so but I worked out who they were. I quietened the congregation down – they were a bit distressed," he added.
The leader of the group, Nick Folkes, denied that the protest was inappropriate, adding that “I don’t have to apologize because we didn’t hurt anybody, it was only words and it was a protest sort of thing, it’s very different to going with the intention of physically hurting somebody.”
The Party of Freedom are also big fans of US presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Sydney Muslim cleric Imam Afroz Ali called the protest “very intimidating… I am sure that they saw it later as quite silly and stupid, but at the time it must have been very disturbing.”
Anti-Muslim sentiments are not uncommon in Australia, as mosques have been frequent targets of extremist attacks.